Beginner’s guide to magic
Magic is fundamentally important and very powerful, but it does have limitations.
The Arcane Laws
The Arcane Laws dictate how magic works. These laws cannot be broken by any means, attempting to do so is powergaming, and against the rules. Here they are, and here is the gist of what they mean.
The Arcane Law of Balance - Everything has a cost, you can’t create something from nothing, and there is no such thing as infinite motion, period.
The Arcane Law of Source - The energies for the use of magic are all sources from leylines, be it directly, indirectly, or via a complex loop of ludicrously difficult to follow shenanigans. There are three types of magic someone can use: Arcane (directly-sourced), Archaic (Indirectly-sourced), and Divine (Indirectly-sourced from another being).
The Arcane Law of Resistance - Magic works differently on different worlds, one thing may work somewhere, and not somewhere else. There is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all” magic.
The Arcane Law of Use - only intelligent living or once-living things can use magic. Regular objects cannot use magic, nor can the brain dead. You cannot create a mundane device, no matter how spectacular your design, to use magic on its own.
Even if something appears to break the rules of these laws, that does not mean it does so.
On Phenos, spells can be discovered in strange and anomalous locations scattered deep in the wilderness known as “Ruins of Lost Worlds”. In each of these locations, a lingering spirit can be found, a deathless remnant of a bygone universe… One who can teach you magic, if you can pay the pittance that is the arcane cost for them to speak, despite not having a mouth. Once a spell is learned, it is recorded in one’s spellbook, and can be used from there.
Some spells can be found in other places on Phenos, places of power… But the majority of these spells cannot be stored in a spellbook, and require a powerful artifact through which to be cast. When found or when created, these objects bind themselves to the one who discovered them, and imbue them with the power they contain. Through them, a person can cast magic, just like a spellbook.
Use in Written Combat
On Phenos, spells take time to cast, and always require an action’s worth of preparation. Though mages cast magic in various ways, this delay still prevents an individual from casting instantly. A mage might chant, make a series of hand gestures, make strange noises, or perform a ritual to pay the cost of the spell in the action before they cast the spell itself.